FNQROC Update - September 2013

By: Executive Officer, Darlene Irvine...

There is a mixed bag to report on this month!

Infrastructure Australia

We met with Michael Deegan from Infrastructure Australia.  It is interesting to note in order to keep their positions the staff in this department are required to add 2% to the GDP per year.  Infrastructure Australia is interested in those projects which not only will add 2% to the GDP but generally cost more than $100 million to establish.

While there were a number of short, sharp presentations to Michael covering a broad range of catalyst projects including the Yarrabah Wharf, Mareeba Airport etc, Cr Shannon complimented these by representing member Councils which were absent and presented the Archer Point Port proposal and the Tully Millstream Project to get an indication of interest for progression.

Planning

We submitted a mammoth submission on the Infrastructure Charges Review discussion paper – thank you Aletta from Cassowary Coast Regional Council!

If making a submission on the Single State Planning Policy and Infrastructure Charges review was not enough, the Minister has advised the department will prepare a new piece of legislation to replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 next year.  Cassowary Coast and Tablelands are represented on the LGAQ Planning Reform Reference Group which will actively inform the reform agenda as it emerges.

FNQROC Board Meeting and AGM

We held our AGM and Ordinary meeting in Cooktown on 12 August and a copy of FNQROC Annual report 2012/2013 can be found here.

Cr Bill Shannon was elected as Chair and Cr Peter Scott was elected as deputy Chair.

FNQRRTG Board

Following the FNQROC Board meeting and AGM we held the FNQRRTG Board meeting. You will note this is a new acronym – as a result of the new 'one bucket' initiative, the Roads Alliance has amended the group names to Regional Roads and Transport Groups (RRTG).

Cr Peter Scott was elected as Chair and Cr Bill Shannon was elected as deputy Chair.

It was disappointing after our efforts over the years to find out that while we have a 12.5% increase in our regional funding for 2014-2015 projects, the real effect with the inclusion of Croydon and Etheridge is a 9.9% decrease in funding.  While we will continue to make our point on this issue we will manage the program fairly and transparently across the region using our agreed methodology.  We also welcome the opportunity to learn and share in the experiences that Croydon and Etheridge will bring to the table – I am sure we will all get value from this new alliance.

Regional Round Table – Council Financial Sustainability – Townsville 14-15 August

FNQROC developed three briefs to take to this Round Table. A copy of these can be found here.

At the round table, the Minister released $500,000 of funding for projects which will assist in Councils' long term financial sustainability.  I have proposed a project to the Mayors and CEO's based on FNQROC's strategic directions 2012-2017.  Applications close on 15 October for this funding round.

Australian Water Association NQ conference

At the end of the August, I also presented at the AWA NQ conference on the initiatives being undertaken by FNQROC which include the Queensland Water Regional Alliance Program and joint procurement activities.

QWRAP

By the time you get this newsletter, I should have the long-awaited Stage 3 report identifying any alternative opportunities to better manage our urban water supplies.  I look forward to providing more detail on this next month.

Japanese charters

The annual JTB school excursions operated by Transaero Airlines in October will this year bring 1,400 Japanese high school students to the Atherton Tablelands to experience authentic Australian farm stays. This is the sixth consecutive year our region has hosted the school excursion and TTNQ hopes to increase the number of schools participating in the program from four to six in coming years. The students spend five days in the region bringing valuable tourism business to the Atherton Tablelands.